LB Foster Materials Handling has designed, manufactured and installed a triple strand chain conveyor into Dana UK Axle Ltd., in Witton, Birmingham, a subsidiary of Dana Holding Corporation.
The conveyor is used to transport front and rear axles of Jaguar Landrover vehicles from the end of Dana’s assembly line to the dock audit area close to despatch. Using a hoist, the axles are manoeuvred from the assembly line into vacuum formed plastic dunnages which are positioned on the new conveyor.
Each dunnage is supported on three rows of feet and the conveyor has been constructed to support each row of feet on a separate chain. Up to four axles weighing approximately 40kgs each are placed into an individual dunnage.
A foot pedal is used by the operator to activate the conveyor, automatically sending the filled dunnage down the line. The movement of dunnages on the conveyor is controlled by a cascade logic system. Once a dunnage is removed from the end of the conveyor, another is automatically moved down to replace it.
At the end of the line the dunnages are removed from the conveyor, visually checked, lids are placed on top of the axles and they are stacked four high, banded together and taken to despatch.
Bill Sant is the Assembly Process Engineer for Dana UK Axle, he comments, "Using a conveyor to transport axles away from final assembly is not only a safe and efficient option, it also helps productivity too. Axles are constantly moved away from the line, there is no waiting and therefore no back-up problems.
"This is the third conveyor we’ve purchased from LB Foster. We selected it as the other two have been a success. The last conveyor they installed for us in Witton was during 2008 and since then we have had no issues with it at all.
"Now when we put together the costings for a new assembly line we routinely include an offload conveyor into our budget because we know it is the best way of moving the axles away from the line."